Mapped Beauty: love at second sight

This post is a co-operation with Marjo Laukkanen and she is the author. Marjo is Science communicator at Arctic Centre & Arktikum Science Centre, University of Lapland.

When I tell someone that our new exhibition is about old maps, there are two most-likely reactions.

“Old maps? Boooooring!”

“Old maps! Yippee!”

Mapped Beauty, Arktikum Museum, Rovaniemi

Old maps, what do you think – whoopee or who cares? Photo: Arto Vitikka

As an exhibition script writer, I tend to fell in love with each topic I study more closely. Old Arctic maps are not an exception. And this time there has been a lot of other people who share my passion. There has been a lot more yippee than yawning so far.

For me, it wasn’t love at first sight. We started the exhibition planning by going to the Arctic Centre archive with my colleague, an exhibition designer. For hours we looked at the maps with white gloves. Dust and paper. Big and small maps, with colors or in black and white. Boring maps with only a little information. Beautiful maps with interesting and funny details. Slowly I started to get excited. But I wasn’t a mapholic – not yet.

maps exhibitions Arktikum Museum, Rovaniei, Lapland

One of those beautiful maps with funny details, like an island that doesn’t exist. Photo: Arctic Centre Collection

I remain my cool until I started to do the background research. Look – I said to my colleague – this map was made by a historian who used to be a tailor. Look at those detailed dresses he drawn to the people in the margins. And this island next to Island is just a flight of fantasy. But it was drawn on maps for a long time, and it has even place-names written on it!

The old maps tell about history, geography, passion, power and death. All you have to do is to stop for a while, look closely and get to know the stories.

Maps Exhibition in the Arktikum Museum in Rovaniemi

Hands up, if you believe in sea monsters that eat ships. Photo: Arctic Centre Collection


The exhibition Mapped Beauty it is shown in Arktikum Museum in Rovaniemi from the 6th of June and it will be there until the 12th of April 2015. So if you are planning to visit Rovaniemi during this time, you can add this to your To Do list.

You’ll find the Arktikum Science Centre at Pohjoisranta 4 in Rovaniemi (see the map below)


Related links:

Artikum Museum in Rovaniemi

Mapped Beauty Exhibition


Author: Julián Amorrich

A Spanish happily living in Lapland for the last 14 years. Passionate about Finland and her nature. Working in tourism, at Lapland Safaris, running on the forest no matter the weather, writing at and

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